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Winning in Small Group Training: A Formula for Success


Over the last few years, small group training (SGT) has been featured as one of the biggest trends in our industry. According to IHRSA in 2017, more than twice as many people have tried small group training compared to personal training.

Forward-thinking clubs understand the value of SGT. They are deliberately incorporating this offering as a standalone department — this way, they can capitalize on the massive financial (and unprecedented retention) potential SGT can provide.

SGT has proven to be the single biggest opportunity for most fitness facilities to increase their non-membership dues, increase retention and significantly grow their bottom line.

Unfortunately, we can no longer offer sporadic, equipment-based classes (or trainer-based classes) that are placed on schedules and delivered by different instructors with different timeframes throughout the year.

Members are seeking real value, real connections and real measurable results. They are seeking a sense of belonging. They simply don’t want to just be an anonymous face in the crowd. Because of this, they are prepared to pay a premium.

If you are considering SGT as an area of your club’s overall business strategy, there are some key points to consider. If this is something you have tried in the past and aren’t getting the desired results from, you may consider outsourcing for a fraction of the cost.

Otherwise, you can apply the strategies below:

  1. Develop a strong project team. Developing an SGT standalone department requires department heads to work collaboratively to achieve the desired outcomes. It is critical for the project team to share the same values, and understand the goals, opportunities, constraints and challenges. They must also be held accountable to individual tasks and success.
  2. Establish a thorough and achievable plan. The project team is tasked to transform the strategic vision into reality. For example, this includes strategies for branding, member onboarding process, sales processes, staff training, equipment, spacing, the programs being offered to members, target markets, continuous self-evaluations, ongoing recruiting strategies, and ongoing training. It must also include a comprehensive budget, an aggressive yet achievable schedule, and a detailed description of all the tasks involved.
  3. A strong team and a sound plan result in a successful project. With hard work and fair, tough-minded decision-making, our team executes the plan day in and day out. Aligning all relevant departments on the same schedule with regular evaluations and ongoing program development, can create achievable success.

By constantly focusing on leadership (the department head), collaboration between departments (marketing, sales, member onboarding, fitness manager), and accountability on all deliverables, you have a formula for success. Once this is achieved, clubs can make this the fastest growing and most profitable department in 2019.


J.P. Richard is the president of TRIBE Team Training® North America. Contact him at 514-554-8580 or jp@tribeteamtraining.com.

J.P. Richard

J.P. Richard is the CEO of Tribe Team Training™ North America. For more information email jp@tribeteamtraining.com or call 514-554-8580.

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